Arnavutköy, with its three-four stories tall wooden buildings that have survived centuries, is one of the prettiest neighborhoods on the Bosphorus. The unique qualities of this area are noticeable only when  you enter the back streets. Far from the noise, the architectural craftsmanship is exhibited in the tiny alleys. These streets also reveal the neighborhood aura that is not so easily found nowadays.

Fotini is located on the first floor of a wooden carcass building built by an overseer of the Balyan Family who’ve also built the Dolmabahçe Palace in the early 1900’s. This historical building has been restored in 1994 by the Ağa Han Architectural Prize winning Nail Çakırhan, in accordance with the original one.

Fotini in Ancient Greek means “Twinkling” and is a women’s name that also is the name of one of the previous owners of this house. We wanted our café to reflect the aura of the house and the spirits of the families that have lived in this building before. The objects that are present in the house are mainly family treasures that have been passed through generations. Hence you might encounter a grandmother’s chair, furniture that embody childhood memories and accessories that have traveled from all around the world.

This familial atmosphere also bleeds into the management of Fotini. Our teammates are all part of a structure unlike the traditional hierarchical one; they are individuals that welcome the guests of the Fotini family.
It is our greatest wish for a guest at Fotini to feels as if they are at a very close friend’s home.

We do believe that we have succeeded in this aim. Fotini is a pleasant and peaceful space. Indeed, we would not be working here if it wasn’t so.

You are welcome too. You would make Fotini happy if you were to stop by.